Finding a Niche with the BiG Pack Pre-Chop
Tom LeFevre of Fort Recovery, Ohio has found a niche when it comes to baling straw for use as bedding in his and his neighbors’ turkey barns – the Krone BiG Pack 1290 HDP XC with PreChop.
LeFevre farms 2,800 acres and has 12 turkey barns. His barns are filled 3 times a year with 66,000 birds each time. The turkeys are brought in at five pounds then grown to 45 pounds before being sent to market. In total LeFevre Farms sends 198,000 birds a year to market.
The local turkey processor requires that the bedding in their growers’ turkey barns be less than two inches in length. To comply with this LeFevre bought a BiG Pack 1290 XC HDP with the PreChop attachment. The PreChop system is an attachment that is installed on the BiG Pack large square baler in front of the pick-up. PreChop picks up the crop in the windrow and uses 72 rotary knives to feed the crop through two rows of stationary knives, then feeds the crop into the baler’s pick-up. The PreChop system can chop the crop as small as 0.8 inches, so it could easily handle the two inches that LeFevre needed to meet requirements.
LeFevre explained, “The savings for us was in the labor it took to process the bales the way we used to have to.” Using a competitive baler, LeFevre made bales 27” x 48” x 10”, they would then have to put the bales in a tube grinder to cut them to the proper length for bedding. Now they just cut the strings on their 36” x 48” x 10” BiG Pack bales and put them in the spreader and bed their barns, completely eliminating the need for the tube grinder.
According to LeFevre, “My best day was over 250 acres, making 400 bales.” With their HDP they do not run at full plunger force because they would not be able to get the flakes apart when spreading the bedding. So, they run the plunger density setting at about 60% making straw bales of 1,500 to 1,600 pounds. With their previous baler they could produce bales from only 900 to 1,000 pounds.
With their purchase of the BiG Pack, LeFevre Farms has ventured into the custom baling business. Because of how well the BiG Pack’s PreChop bales work for turkey barn bedding, they now bale straw for 20-25 other turkey growers in their area. Needless to say, LeFevre is very happy with his purchase and the new opportunities it has opened up for his farm. He also credits his success to the support of his local dealer, Sutter Brothers in Coldwater, Ohio.
Machine serviced & sold by: Sutter Brothers – Coldwater, Ohio